GraceKennedy Foundation support of UWI, a model partnership - GKF provides $11 Million annually to fund research
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 00:00
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 00:00
The GraceKennedy Foundation has renewed funding for the Carlton S. Alexander Chair in Management Studies and the James Moss-Solomon Senior Chair in Environmental Management at the University of the West Indies (UWI). The Chairs are held by Professor Ian Boxill, who has been in the post since 2010 and Professor Mona Webber who was appointed on October 1, 2016 respectively.
At a forum held November 22 at the Regional Headquarters at UWI, both professors spoke about their research, community work and their relevance to current problems being faced by the country.
Among Professor Boxill’s research and contributions over the past year is a programme with the Sandals Group and Island Tours to identify ways of leveraging Jamaica’s attractions, improving the tourist experience, expanding linkages and earning more revenue for the country. He has also conducted a needs assessment with the Jamaica Manufacturing Association to identify the areas where greater support is needed by the sector to increase its effectiveness. Manufacturing contributed 8.6% to GDP in 2015.
Professor Mona Webber’s account of her research opened eyes and minds as she shared about the life-giving and possibly life-saving work her team is conducting under the sea. She spoke about the impact of pollution on marine health and announced that she will be delving further into examining content found in the stomachs of fishes found in Jamaica’s waters. Already discovered is that some fish are consuming toxic micro plastics. Her research will have far reaching implication for the livelihood of fishermen and the health of consumers of seafood.
Each Chair is funded by GraceKennedy Foundation at a value of $5.5.million per annum.
Don Wehby, CEO of GraceKennedy Ltd commended both Professors on their work, while also thanking outgoing James Moss Solomon Snr Chair, Professor Dale Webber who was recently appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Studies and Research.
“The UWI must be known as a centre for solutions and a leader in promoting innovation and innovative thinking among its students – the future leaders of Jamaica. Education, after all is the ultimate problem solver... I again restate GraceKennedy’s commitment to UWI as we see it as one of our ways of answering the future’s call,” Mr. Wehby said.
Professor Archie McDonald, Principal of the UWI’s Mona campus described the partnership between the GraceKennedy Foundation and UWI as “the quintessential merger of big business and education.” He thanked the company for its support of the UWI and education which he said goes “above and beyond your social responsibility.”
Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie Chairperson of the GraceKennedy Foundation and former Principal of the UWI, Mona noted: “Our Chairs have demonstrated great insight and understanding of the vulnerabilities faced by the region and have been proactive and creative in exploring appropriate solutions. This they have done by successfully developing and fostering partnerships locally and internationally in the areas of research, innovation and community development and they have been inspirational mentors for the students whose development they guide.”